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posted by Jennifer Stahl on Monday, Nov 04, 2013
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Ever since AOL announced it would be airing a documentary series about New York City Ballet, we've been waiting—not so patiently—to find out exactly what it would include. Finally, all 12 episodes were released today, feeding the appetites of all us binge-watchers. The best part? They're available right here, on dancemagazine.com.
Don't expect a melodramatic Breaking Pointe—style reality show. It's much more of a straightforward look at how a ballet company works, with episodes titled "Apprentices," "Corps de Ballet," "Soloists," etc. Peter Martins speaks to the camera like the God of Ballet (which is both incredibly intimidating and exactly how I like to think of him), explaining everything for the non-dancers watching. Executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker lends her voice as narrator for each 5–8 minute episode.
The first one is a general introduction to the ins and outs of ballet dancers' careers, and the details of the Balanchine aesthetic. It also gives an explanation of the ranking system inside NYCB. Sadly, we don't get any long stretches of class or rehearsal footage: None of the backstage or studio shots last longer than a few seconds at most. Yet the series is going to be a must-watch nonetheless. The dancers, particularly Craig Hall and Ashley Bouder, are admiringly candid when talking about how they think through their fears, insecurities and challenges both on stage and off. Their bold honesty makes the project a series that no dancer should miss. Check it out now.